Independents await UPA call

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  • Published 17.08.08

Ranchi, Aug. 17: Undeterred with the JMM pullout, chief minister Madhu Koda refused to quit.

Koda, who remained huddled with the eight Independent ministers for around four hours today ever since the news of Shibu Soren’s final decision reached him, said that he would take up the issue at a UPA forum. The chief minister maintained the JMM’s decision had no consent from the UPA leaders, including chairperson and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad.

Dubbing the JMM’s move as a “hasty decision”, Koda claimed his government was still enjoyed a majority in the House. “Moreover, a trial of strength could happen on the floor of the House,” he added.

Significantly, Koda’s stand is a U-turn from his earlier offer to vacate his chair for Guruji made before the Lok Sabha vote of confidence. “I only wished to say that I was ready for any sacrifice in the interest of UPA unity and not for Soren,” he clarified.

Refusing to comment on the possiibility of President’s Rule being imposed in the state, the chief minister said other options were still open.

Health minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi, the spokesman for the nine Independent ministers with Koda, said they were “intact” and would take a final decision after consulting the UPA central leadership. He also criticised the JMM chief for taking this drastic step without taking them _ the Independents – into confidence. Significantly, HRD minister Bandhu Tirkey left after attending the meeting for sometime. About the absence of science & technology minister Chandra Prakash Chaudhary, Sahi said that he was away in Gwalior on personal work.

Maintaining that the government should be allowed to continue, deputy chief minister Stephen Marandi said there was little chance of the Governor inviting Soren to form the government.

“The Governor will keep in view his past failures…,” he pointed out.

Urban development minister Hari Narayan Rai and welfare minister Job Manjhi also reposed their faith in Koda.